Friday, January 9, 2009

Belated Christmas recipes

My neighbor and her very adorable son Noah just stopped by and gave my a glass of excellent carrot juice she made, which I think gave me a burst of energy that I am hoping will help me churn out this recipe post. Otherwise I'll probably lose track of where I put them and have to hunt for them next time I want to make them.

So this is what I remember from baking at this point:

Torres' chocolate mudslide cookies
Chocolate cashew ice cream
Anisette toast
Cranberry orange bread
Pumpkin chocolate chip bread
Lard bread
Caramel pecan pie

And then there was potato leek soup and chicken stew with CSA veggies, but I think I just threw stuff in a pot for those. I think I'll post the ones I found on-line today, and then the ones I dug out of books or adapted from somewhere next time. The lard bread in particular took some effort to find.

Some of the baked goods went to pre-holiday dinners, some to the pug-sitter's family, some to Christmas eve dinner at Jake's cousin's house, and a bit to a friend who had a baby recently.

The anisette cookies, however, are mine alone. They are rock hard and perfect for dipping in coffee, and no one likes them but me. It took a while to find a recipe I liked, which oddly enough is apparently from a Sopranos cookbook, of all places. Who knew? There are multiple Sopranos cookbooks, it seems. Most of the other recipes I found for biscotti used butter or oil to make them more tender, and had lots of nuts -- not the hard, dry cookies I was looking for. This one has a lot of eggs but nothing that would make them fall apart in your coffee or somewhere between your mug and mouth (landing on your laptop). I added about a teaspoon more of anisette extract than the recipe called for, plus about a half a teaspoon of vanilla.

The chocolate cookies were a last minute find, because Jake's cousin requested something chocolate. But I've been hoping to make the ice cream for quite a while and never got around to it.

The cookies have a very official name, Jacques Torres' Chocolate Mudslide Cookies, and are all over the internet. That Torres has marketed the hell out of them, with good reason. You can apparently even buy a mix on Amazon, and they come with their very own video demonstration that I just watched now but wasn't too interesting. I thought the ice cream and cookies went really well together, even though both were really rich. But I had some mishaps with both. I ended up burning a batch of cookies because I was toying with the time (his recipe is for large cookies, and I made small, so if you try that cook them for like 10 minutes, tops), so I kept the slightly burnt ones shown in the photo--I froze them before we left and we've been picking at them since we got back. The ice cream didn't have enough time to freeze well, and we threw in some marshmallows that were on hand but turned out to be really stale. Not that the stale marshmallows stopped us from eating it. FYI: stale mini marshmallows in ice cream sort of pop when you bite them.

The real winner from the cookies is Torres' tip of spreading cookie dough onto a cookie sheet and chilling it, and then scoring or cutting the dough so that all the cookies are the same size. What a good idea. You could just cut them and then freeze them--which is so much easier than scooping out dozens of cookies. I've been freezing cookie dough already in balls, so that you can just put a couple on a tray frozen.

The cranberry orange bread was inspired by the pound of cranberries I got from the CSA and the really nice looking photo on the blog I found it on when I googled for cranberry recipes. Everything looks really beautiful on her blog, but this is the first thing I've tried. It tasted great and was a nice change from all the rich food going around, but I think it was a bit soggy and didn't hold up all that well. I'll leave out some of the juice, buttermilk and/or butter next time. The glaze was great, though. A keeper.

The other stuff will come next time. I'm off to walk the pug (who snuck into the neighbor's apartment and ate their cat's food, the little shit), and to hopefully get some work done. Happy weekend!

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